Nestlé Rowntree boss trashes Harrison plans

Chris White, the new managing director of Nestlé Rowntree UK, has taken an axe to the marketing strategy put in place by former marketing director Andrew Harrison, claiming that the business has “lost its focus”.

Chris White, the new managing director of Nestlé Rowntree UK, has taken an axe to the marketing strategy put in place by former marketing director Andrew Harrison, claiming that the business has “lost its focus”.

White, who joined the company in December, just weeks before Harrison left to become managing director at yoghurt manufacturer Müller (MW January 8), says he wants to establish Nestlé Rowntree as the leading confectionery brand in the UK and hopes to increase its market share from 17.3 per cent to 20 per cent in the next couple of years. It is the third-largest confectionery company, after Cadbury and Mars.

He has already restructured the marketing department to bring it closer to the rest of the business and has appointed former Lowe account director Mike O’Reilly as consumer communications manager to liaise with the division’s roster agencies, J Walter Thomson and Lowe & Partners. White has also promoted Deidre O’Donoghue to brand group marketing manager from a role in customer marketing and sales.

At the same time, Nestlé has parted company with M&C Saatchi, the agency that created the Pop Idol and World Idol idents. White says that the sponsorship did not increase sales because it was “not properly leveraged”. He says that he has no plans to change Nestlé Rowntree’s other agencies, but will move accounts between the two agencies if creative work does not deliver results. He denies speculation that Milky Bar, handled by Lowe, will be the first piece of business to move.

White is reviewing each brand’s campaigns, and has already dropped Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels star Jason Stratham from Kit-Kat advertising. The review also includes the relaunch of Double Cream, which he admits has not performed in line with expectations (MW January 22). He says: “With Double Cream, we aim to restore our chocolate credentials. The new work and products represent much better thinking.”

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